Digital currency and green energy are joining hands in
an effort to bring us a better, cleaner future.
As a revered Czech economist, Joseph Schumpeter once explained, creative destruction is the driving force of development. We saw it in the 19th century. The gold rush that swept through the world, from vast plains of the US to the remote islands of New Zealand, left the places irrevocably changed, the price of gold being pristine forests and the dignity of native tribes.
The misery of social class during the Industrial Revolution and even the smog enveloping our cities today make it hard to deny that there always is ‘the other side of the coin’ to the welfare we aim for. At least in a traditional coin. But Bitcoin may have sides which are both positive! Why? Read on: you’ll be surprised.
A recent popularity of cryptocurrency brought up ecologists’ concerns that are indeed worrying if we look closely at the statistical charts of electricity demand. A quick glimpse leaves it clear: growing hunger for cryptocurrency requires that huge amounts of energy be used to fuel its mining (a decentralized process in which computers are financially rewarded for their work maintaining and verifying a public transaction ledger known as blockchain). With a total consumption equalling that of a country of a size of Iceland, it is understandable that ecologically concerned activists fear cryptocurrency´s incessantly swelling need for electricity and its possible consequences.
However, the creators of HARVEST believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Or, more precisely, wind in front of the turbine. To tackle the danger of cryptocurrency mining becoming yet another destructive source of wealth, Swedish eco designers and computer programmers joined forces and launched a ground-breaking project. Their invention is a hybrid of two seemingly unrelated disciplines: informatics and ecology. Cryptocurrency is involved, as we will see, in both.
The idea of HARVEST is to construct turbines that transform wind energy into electricity directly deployed to computers that mine cryptocurrency. The entire value of the extracted Bitcoins is to be used to finance other ecologically-aimed projects. This win-win design both propelling cryptocurrency industry and benefitting climate researchers is much more simple than the technology used to make it work. Comprised of a 2m wind turbine with environmental sensors, weatherproof computer and 4G uplink, HARVEST prototype is stuffed with two 12V 150Ah batteries (each weighing 43 kg) and many other minute parts, all controlled by Ubuntu 16.04 LTS software.
However complex inside, the wind turbines look elegant on the outside and their simplicity is an easy example of the Scandinavian design. The prospect of dedicating the rewards earned by the HARVEST mining machine to the non-profit climate-concerned research organisations rather than the designers’ private wallets is yet another trait of Scandinavian nature – selflessness. Even though disinterested by design, the idea drew a lot of interest from the very first launch of its prototype.
HARVEST premiered on the 14th of September on the exhibition in the Konstmuseet in Skövde, Sweden, and instantly attracted global attention, primarily of investors operating in the fields of cryptocurrencies and green energy. No wonder it did so, as it looks like a promising means of boosting your bitcoin mining potential and a bottomless well of funding for organisations that investigate the climate’s future.
Besides, HARVEST is ingeniously levelling two opposite tendencies: the world’s climate changes resulting in stronger winds and the ever-growing need for energy to keep our hard-working computers going. By their innovative project the Swedes have once again proven that there always is equilibrium to be found in nature if you look for it with perseverance and eyes wide open.
Isn’t the idea beautiful in itself? To use climate-friendly wind turbines to mine cryptocurrency which, once earned, is destined to fund future climate research projects? If you only think of it for a second, you’ll notice that the idea can be represented by a perfect circle: economy and ecology help each other in a process of symbiosis where no single effort is wasted. A completely clean, green loop of interdependence. It appears that – far from the frenzies of gold rush and Schumpeterian destruction-infected growth – we have managed to find an ideal Perpetuum mobile. The fuel of which is nothing else but human creativity and its fruit: cryptocurrency.
HARVEST works with the currency ZCash, a popular alternative to the worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system Bitcoin. The project was generously funded by the Konstmuseet i Skövde, thanks to the courtesy of which we also owe the photos published within this article.
If you want to learn more about HARVEST, take a look here.
Last modified: October 3, 2017
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